Walter Lowenfels on Whitman in 1969

Walter Lowenfels on Whitman’s sexuality in 1969 

PennSound's Lowenfels page indicates his remarkable phases and rangings (almost Zelig-like) across expatriate modernist experiment (in the 1920s), United Front social radicalism (1930s), sectarian communism and coincident devotion to the sonnet (1940s-50s), and a convergence of revived modernism, the counterculture of love, and New Left anti-war/pro-civil rights radicalism (1960s-70s). He was just as comfortable writing and then performing one of his found poems as he was reading a politically radical but formally cautious sonnet to Albert Einstein – and in conversation was as fluent in the language of expatriation and avant-gardism of Paris in the 1920s as he was in the verse-speechifying of the anti-war movement in the Vietnam era. His daughter, Judy Jacobs, has made available to PennSound  a great many recordings – of 1960s-era speeches at colleges, mass readings, radio readings, sonneteering, and private interviews. On May 25, 1969, Lowenfels performed readings from Whitman and offered commentary; he felt that Whitman perfectly embodied the merge of American socio-political ideas and heterodox sexual modes young people needed in the late 1960s.

1) on Whitman’s many loves and his relevance (3:02): MP3
2) on Whitman in context (2:03): MP3
3) on life before Leaves of Grass (1:05): MP3
4) how Leaves of Grass "germinates" (1:42): MP3
5) an introduction to Whitman's love poems and reading 24 from "Song of Myself" (2:52): MP3
6) "Nothing Furtive About It" : Whitman's love for men (3:01): MP3
7) reading 122 from Leaves of Grass "Vigil strange I kept on the field one night..." (3:06): MP3
8) in Whitman's sexuality and love affairs (3:27): MP3
9) refusal to edit love poems (1:04): MP3
10) reading 20 from Leaves of Grass "A woman waits for me.." (0:57): MP3
11) sexual encounters and the mysterious #164 (2:50): MP3
12) the identity of "Frenchie" (3:31): MP3
13) on women who loved Whitman (2:09): MP3
14) on Whitman's great secret: living one life in his books, and one outside them (2:22): MP3
15) an explanation of Whitman's sexuality (2:38): MP3
16) on Whitman's great capacity for Love (5:56): MP3
17) on Whitman's "cosmic liberalism" : Whitman and the worker (4:13): MP3
18) on Whitman as a writer: his relationships with people and with words (5:07): MP3
19) on Whitman's vision (1:56): MP3